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December 2, 2003
Bust-A-Bloc - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

Graphics are merely adequate.
How many of you remember the old game called Breakout. The game works by giving a gamer a paddle to keep bouncing a ball (or many of them) to a series of breakable blocks at the top of the screen. The original game is addictive, and this update, called Bust-A-Bloc in case you missed the title, looks set to capture the same essence, but with 3D graphics and new features including a 2-player mode for co-operative or head-to-head battles. Does this game work today, and is it good value at a budget $AU29.95 price point?

OK, the explosions are nice.
Bust-A-Bloc includes 150 stages to complete, with several different themed worlds. Don't be fooled however, these themes mean nothing to the game this is all about breaking the coloured blocks without the ball dropping off the bottom of the screen. The developers have, however, included many power-ups to collect. These power-ups include multiple balls, bombs to blow up surrounding blocks, double paddle width, keys to unlock locked blocks and more. They all contribte to making this game more challenging. Another of the best new additions over the original game is the ability to shake the screen to curve the ball left or right adding more precision to the game.

2-player head-to-head.
The inclusion of the 2-player mode is a great decision. The co-operative mode is good fun however as with most games it's the head-to-head mode that provides the most entertainment andexcitement, and it all works quite well. I could actually see this game working well as an online title sometime in future.

There are some issues with the game. The first is that moving to 3D actually makes it hard to see where the power-ups are, and where your best path is. It's possible to change to a top-down view however this then removes the ability to see the blocks stacked up. I guess what we've got is acceptable enough. The game also has several different paddles to unlock and while they are supposedly different, they effectively have little difference in the gameplay.

OK, this is the last screenshot.
I'm not really going to say much about the graphics and sound. This is a budget title, there are no cut scenes, the animation in a game like this is almost non-existant although there are some nice enough explosion effects. The sound is forgettable, including the music which will be forgotton within an instant.

As a puzzle game this is merely Breakout in 3D. The 2-player game is fun for a while but the game does lack challenge. Still with a price of only $AU29.95 it's an OK purchase for fans of the genre. The real problem is that there are many very similar games on PC available free, so if you have a PC you may be better off with one of them.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSAverage background, a few nice explosions, but this is a puzzle game.
SOUNDThe music and effects are easily forgettable, thankfully...
GAMEPLAYQuite an addictive title, especially in the 2-player mode.
VALUEYou'll get a few hours of fun at least, value at a budget price.
OVERALLBust A Bloc is an adequate puzzle game at a discounted price. If you know someone who will only spend $30 on you for Christmas and you like puzzle games you may want to put this on your list. Average.

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